Largest Marine Exercise in Decades Hits Twentynine Palms, CA

 In Military

The largest Marine Exercise to hit Twentynine Palms, California in decades has landed. Ten thousand Marines, sailors, and NATO troops are participating in a force-on-force battle to teach them how to think against an enemy who may be a peer in capabilities.

According to Military.com, the majority of Marines will be from the 2nd Marine Division in North Carolina – which hasn’t participated in one of these large-scale exercises in “decades.”

The Marine Air-Ground Task Force Warfighting Exercise, or MWX, will run from mid-October to early November at the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center in California.

“An exercise of this scale – force-on-force, multi-regiment outfitted with significant information operations and [unmanned-aerial system] assets – hasn’t been conducted in the Marine Corps in my lifetime…MWX will be a true test of the Division’s ability to deploy and to operate at scale against a peer threat in a command-and-control denied and degraded environment – an environment where a thinking enemy is working hard to subvert all our efforts.” Maj. Gen. David Furness, 2nd Marine Division

The purpose of the training exercise is to learn how to think on their feet against an enemy that has similar capabilities.

“Free Play Training”

“We need to teach Marine leaders how to think on their feet. We’re going to see a lot more of that graduate- or varsity-level thinking leader, and I need them figuring out how they can outthink me…We must ruthlessly test ourselves, conduct honest after-action reviews, make refinements and test ourselves again.” Lt. Gen. David Berger in 2018

In other words, this exercise is unscripted. It has technology, including drones along with cyber and electronic warfare… on both sides. Each side will be chosen to be good guys or bad guys and will be expected to see how they match up in the peer-to-peer fight.

They’ll be wearing laser equipment that will tell them when they are hit. At that point they become a casualty and must be evacuated from the battlefield. And a good time will be had by all, no doubt.

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Featured Photo: Assault Amphibious Vehicles with Marine Division are staged in a motor pool lot at Camp Wilson, Marine Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, Oct. 6, 2019, in preparation for MWX 1-20. (Pfc. Patrick King/Marine Corps)

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